© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Kohl’s label is seen on a shopping basket in a Kohl’s department store in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) -Kohl’s Corp has entered exclusive negotiations with retail store operator Franchise Group (NASDAQ:) Inc over a potential sale of the department store chain, valuing it at nearly $8 billion, the companies said late on Monday.

The bid of $60 per share constitutes a premium to Kohl’s (NYSE:) closing price of $42.12 on Monday, giving it a market value of about $5.4 billion.

Franchise Group, owner and operator of retail stores such as The Vitamin Shoppe and Buddy’s Home Furnishings, said the companies have entered into a three-week-long exclusive discussion.

“The purpose of the exclusive period is to allow FRG and its financing partners to finalize due diligence and financing arrangements and for the parties to complete the negotiation of binding documentation,” Kohl’s said.

Kohl’s said the deal is subject to board approval and provided no assurance that an agreement would be finalised.

Several bidders, including private-equity firm Sycamore Partners and J.C. Penney investors Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE:) and Brookfield Asset Management Inc had submitted competing offers for Kohl’s recently.

The U.S. department store chain was under pressure after activist investors Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Engine Capital LP called on Kohl’s earlier this year to sell itself.

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